For Tiger Woods, it was a powerful comeback. After a again damage that had appeared destined to finish his profession, he gained the Masters Event in 2019, an exciting return to kind that captivated the nation.
However after a yr of matches and begins that yielded no main victories, he introduced final month that he had undergone one other spinal process that will maintain him out of competitors till later this yr.
Then got here the single-vehicle accident on Tuesday wherein his S.U.V. ran off the street and landed on a hillside close to Los Angeles, inflicting leg accidents that required Mr. Woods to endure hours of surgical procedure.
It was one other devastating episode for Mr. Woods — who burst onto the nationwide scene as a toddler and is the best golfer of his era — and raises questions on his capability to make one more comeback.
In recent times, Mr. Woods, who has gained 15 main championships, second within the sport’s historical past to Jack Nicklaus’s 18, has talked extensively concerning the limitations his earlier surgical procedures and accidents have brought about.
They’ve severely diminished the period of time he can follow and have typically disrupted the stream and energy of a as soon as revered golf swing. For a number of of the previous few seasons, Mr. Woods may very well be seen wincing after each few pictures, and he steadily struggled to retrieve his golf ball from the cup after finishing a gap.
His accident incited an outpouring throughout sports activities and past.
On Twitter, Mr. Nicklaus wrote of his and his spouse’s anguish. “Barbara and I simply heard about Tiger’s accident, and like everybody else, we’re deeply involved,’’ Nicklaus’s submit mentioned. “We wish to provide him our heartfelt help and prayers at this troublesome time. Please be a part of us in wishing Tiger a profitable surgical procedure and all one of the best for a full restoration.”
Justin Thomas, a trusted confidant of Mr. Woods who steadily joins him for pretournament follow rounds, appeared surprised by the information.
“I’m sick to my abdomen,” Thomas mentioned as he ready for the Workday Championship, a PGA Tour occasion in Central Florida set to start Thursday. “It hurts to see one in all your closest associates get in an accident. I simply hope he’s all proper. I’m simply nervous for his children, I’m positive they’re struggling.”
The incident occurred about 7 a.m. Pacific time close to the border of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes, a coastal Los Angeles suburb, on a twisting and winding stretch the place the pace restrict is 45 m.p.h. Two days earlier, Mr. Woods had hosted a PGA Tour occasion on the Riviera Nation Membership in Los Angeles and stayed to tape a promotional spot for Golf Digest.
Mr. Woods was touring at a “higher pace than regular” however didn’t appear impaired, Alex Villanueva, the Los Angeles County sheriff, mentioned at a information convention, including that “there was no effort to attract blood, for instance, on the hospital.”
Mr. Woods misplaced management of the automobile on Hawthorne Boulevard, hitting a curb and a tree earlier than rolling a number of occasions, the sheriff mentioned.
“That space has a excessive frequency of accidents,” Mr. Villanueva mentioned. “It’s not unusual.”
With 82 PGA Tour victories, Mr. Woods is tied for essentially the most ever with Sam Snead.
However Mr. Woods has been hobbled by accidents in recent times. He has had 5 main again operations and three knee operations, which have derailed his capability to compete for years at a time.
His accidents within the automobile accident would appear to create a considerable impediment to returning to full kind, a prospect already in query forward of the Masters in April.
In 2009, on the top of a profession wherein Mr. Woods was anticipated to demolish each report in his sport, information experiences about serial marital infidelity price him his marriage, and he was shunned by many within the golf neighborhood. In swift succession, his myriad company sponsors dropped him. The scandal brought about him to take a prolonged hiatus from golf. When he returned to competitors, he struggled to seek out his outdated kind, a complication that coincided with the onset of his bodily illnesses.
On the identical golf programs the place he had lengthy been greeted by wild cheering, his presence was as an alternative met with an eerie quiet. As time handed, being snubbed was removed from Mr. Woods’s solely downside at tournaments. He was typically seen as a limping afterthought. A younger breed of golfers now managed the highest of the leaderboard.
His downfall ultimately had a defining act, a middle-of-the-night arrest in Could 2017 that exposed an opioid dependancy. Mr. Woods was taken into custody by the police after he was discovered alone and asleep in his automobile on the facet of a street with the engine operating.
Typical of his profession arc, Mr. Woods’s resurrection ended up being as dramatic and attention-grabbing.
On the 2019 Masters, golf’s most watched occasion, Mr. Woods was not one of many pretournament favorites to win however he grew to become a final-round contender. Within the crucible of the occasion’s ultimate holes, as his rivals withered below the stress, Mr. Woods discovered the inside resolve that had been his trademark. He birdied 4 of the ultimate 5 holes to say his fifth Masters title. When his ultimate putt dropped, he celebrated with a primal scream that appeared to be matched by the 1000’s of followers encircling the 18th inexperienced.
Simply two years earlier, Mr. Woods had ranked as little as 1,119th on the earth. His comeback, particularly contemplating his travails off the course, could have been the best in sports activities historical past.
Leaving the inexperienced, Mr. Woods lifted his son, Charlie, and his daughter, Sam, into his arms — a gesture that was a close to repeat of the embrace Mr. Woods’s father, Earl, had given his son after the 1997 Masters, Mr. Woods’s first main victory.
He continued to be aggressive together with his friends in 2019, winning one more event, however the pandemic-shortened 2020 golf season passed off with Mr. Woods typically absent. Aside from a tie for ninth in mid-January, he didn’t end greater than a tie for 37th and appeared in simply 10 occasions.
Mr. Woods has not performed competitively since December. In January, he underwent a process on his again known as a microdiscectomy, which was carried out to take away a pressurized disc fragment that was pinching a nerve. On Sunday, whereas performing because the host of the Genesis Invitational PGA Tour occasion in Southern California, Mr. Woods was interviewed through the broadcast of the match. He mentioned he had begun practising and appeared comfy, smiling and joking with CBS announcers about his progress from the latest operation. However he supplied no timetable for his return to aggressive golf.
The Masters, although, remained central on Mr. Woods’s calendar. Requested whether or not he would compete within the occasion in April, Mr. Woods replied: “God, I hope so. I’ve acquired to get there first.” He added that he was “feeling positive, just a little bit stiff” and was awaiting one other M.R.I. scan to guage his progress. Within the meantime, he mentioned, he had been “nonetheless doing the mundane stuff that you need to do for rehab, the little issues earlier than you can begin gravitating towards one thing just a little extra.”
Mr. Woods conceded that surgeons could have solely so many extra methods to assist him. “That is the one again I’ve acquired,” he mentioned. “I don’t have rather more wiggle room there.”
On the pandemic-delayed Masters in November, Mr. Woods tied for 38th place. Within the wake of the ultimate spherical of the occasion, he mentioned of his bodily infirmities: “Irrespective of how exhausting I attempt, issues simply don’t work the best way they used to. And regardless of how a lot I push and ask of this physique, it simply doesn’t work at occasions.”
On the Rolling Hills Nation Membership close to Los Angeles on Monday, footage on social media confirmed Mr. Woods interacting with numerous celebrities, together with the previous N.B.A. participant Dwyane Wade. Through the perform, Mr. Woods gave gamers golf suggestions and a few instruction however was not swinging a golf membership.
Douglas Morino, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Alan Blinder, Kevin Draper and Gillian R. Brassil contributed reporting.